So, I am off my psych meds for over a month now. And, I am beginning to remember that there are thinks I am allowed to do that have been off limits for years.
Slowly, the memory of these freedoms returns.
It is easy, when your life is already truncated by your condition to accept the limitations that are added with each new prescription. It is weirdly easy to forget to reclaim those rights when the prescription is discontinued or replaced. Or, at least, it has been so for me.
Over the years, there have been so many pills. And each one arrives from the pharmacy in a bottle adorned with festive stickers. The cheery stickers threaten fire and brimstone upon one’s hapless head for ignoring their dire warnings. Avoid sunlight. Don’t frikkin drive. Don’t be violent. Don’t get pregnant. Don’t eat grapefruit. Don’t have a cocktail. Don’t. Don’t. Don’t. The pill bottles also arrive accompanied by a 3 or 4 page missive from the friendly pharmacist .(who, in reality, is often fairly unfriendly if you get tons of anti-psychotic and anti-schizophrenics filled there. The exception is Josh from CVS Monroeville, PA. The only pharmacist who has consistently treated me like a human being instead of like a rabid dog) The missives are printed in about 8 point arial font, front and back.
These missives should be titled “Don’t sue us-the doctor made us do this.”
For about the past ten years, I have read these completely. They are ransom notes for my soul. I didn’t used to read them. Then I managed a disastrous drug interaction that damn near killed me. No one ever believed it was not my seventh suicide attempt. (With 6 prior major attempts, I can’t blame them really, but it truly was an accident that time)
So, I began to live small. Avoided glasses of wine, sunlight, grapefruit, steroids, driving for weeks after starting a new medication, the list was endless…and it was only last week that I realized that none of those restrictions applied. Not now. Maybe never again.
Buying the grapefruit was more difficult than you might think. I felt like I was sneaking, buying illicit drugs, hiring a prostitute. I half expected to hear a voice shout, “Step away from the grapefruit!”
Of course, that didn’t happen. But I did feel the need to eat that grapefruit in secret. But it was delicious. To me. I understand that many people don’t care for grapefruit. Me, I love them. I prefer the white ones to the red or pink ones, but I love them all.
So that grapefruit was my first foray into a world that was not foreshortened by the rules of the medication. In short order, I also spent almost five minutes sitting in direct sunlight (I’m one of those soulless gingers-that was a long time in the sun for me) and then I borrowed my sweetie’s truck, and drove over to see my eldest daughter.
None of these acts was huge, or even uncommon for the average person. But for me, they were huge. I think they will continue to be huge, and there will be more of them as I slowly grasp that the medication is no longer the law of my landscape.
And there is some progress.
I leave my room almost every day now. I get dressed almost every day now. I am beginning to get the house clean. I am beginning to be somewhat alive.
And I am managing my expectations. I know that the medications are not completely absent yet. There will be days where my balance is so shot to Hell that I don’t dare get up for fear of my own safety. (But I am beginning to factor my own safety and well-being into the equation) I know there will be days when my brain feels full of snakes. And the itching. Yesterday started the itching.
But even with the itching and the brain full of snakes, I feel like the sun is shining on me more often than not.